Articles of Interest

Public Schools outperform Private Schools in Math instruction

This article discusses how recently (in 2009) "a team of University of Illinois education professors has found that public-school students outperform their private-school classmates on standardized math tests, thanks to two key factors: certified math teachers, and a modern, reform-oriented math curriculum." This article goes against conventional thoughts concerning public and private education, the two factors cited have correlated with higher marks on the NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress). Suggested reasons for the observed results include a slightly anachronistic approach to math that can be seen in some private schools and there lack of accountability to a public body. Education professor Sarah Lubienski stated “The results do seem to suggest that private schools are doing their own thing, and that they’re less likely to have paid attention to curricular trends and the fact that math instruction and math tests have changed". However, she also cautioned that the observed relationships might not be directly causal. 

Public Schools Perform Near Private Ones in Study

In 2006, the Education department reported "that children in public schools generally performed as well or better in reading and mathematics than comparable children in private schools. The exception was in eighth-grade reading, where the private school counterparts fared better". This study that was developed closely with the one above, has also produced results opposite to what most would expect, favoring public schools. The tests scores were put in context by "studying the Children’s backgrounds and taking into account factors like race, ethnicity, income and parents’ educational backgrounds to make the comparisons more meaningful". This contextualization encompasses the myriad of factors that affect test scores and school performance but cannot account for every factor, so as usual this data cannot be taken as law. Interestingly, despite the results, Joseph McTighe, the executive director of the Council for American Private Education, which represents 80% of private elementary and secondary schools had this to say."In the real world, private school kids outperform public school kids, that’s the real world, and the way things actually are."

Comparing Private Schools and Public Schools Using Hierarchical Linear Modeling

An Extremely in depth study on the performance of students in public and private elementary school using the NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress). This study was used in both of the articles above to draw general conclusions on the topic of Public vs. Private schooling. Due to the in-depth nature of the report, the above articles offer more concise data pertaining to this discussion, however this is their source.

The Council for American Private Education.

This link connects to the web-page for the Council for American Private Education. This website is the homepage for the organization of which Joseph McTighe is the executive director of, featured in the article above. This website presents a myriad of graphs, figures and statistics in favor of Private education. The site has figures showing advantages of private education in real terms such as test scores. Also, the site features surveys showing that popular opinion holds that private schools provide better education, maintain discipline, and teach academic skills better than public schools as well as stating that both private and public schools are even in teaching kids to get along with people from different backgrounds. While these figures and statistics are very compelling, one must realize that they stem from a biased source in favor of Private education.